Rescue teams have intensified efforts to aid devastated Moroccan mountain villages after a powerful earthquake that claimed 2,900 lives. Morocco has allowed rescue teams from Spain, Britain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, but it has declined offers from several other nations, including the United States and Israel.

Rescue teams stepped up a massive effort to bring relief to devastated Moroccan mountain villages Wednesday as the chances faded fast for finding survivors from the powerful earthquake which killed 2,900 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

Vehicles packed with supplies were inching up winding mountain roads to deliver desperately needed food and tents to survivors of the nation’s deadliest quake in more than six decades.

Search teams were in places still scouring the rubble for the living. Morocco is now well past the 72-hour window when rescues are considered most likely, yet survivors are, in some cases, found well beyond that period.

“We’re working in a lot of places,” said Fahas Abdullah Al Dosanri of the Qatari fire department, part of the international aid effort, adding some villages still cannot be reached by road.

Moroccan authorities reported that crews were working to clear unpaved tracks that had been cut off by landslides.

In the hardest-hit areas south of Marrakesh, many villages in the High Atlas mountains were destroyed, and villagers were taking shelter in yellow government-issued tents.

The shelters’ arrival is an indication that aid is starting to flow, but they are intended to be only temporary and will be totally insufficient against the approaching cold and rainy season.

In the tourist hub of Marrakesh, whose UNESCO-listed historic center suffered cracks and other damage, many families still slept out in the open, huddled in blankets on public squares for fear of aftershocks.

Morocco has allowed rescue teams to come to its aid from Spain, Britain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates but so far declined offers from several other nations, including the United States and Israel.

The United Nations estimated that more than 300,000 people have been affected, one-third of them children.

The rebuilding effort is expected to be enormous for the North African country, which was already suffering economic woes and years of drought and now fears a downturn in the crucial tourism sector.

Miroslava Salazar, with AFP